Survey says …

Survey says ?

My buddy and I were recently discussing a vacation he took in which he stayed at a Hyatt property on the West Coast. Naturally I asked him how everything went, and everything was great. He then went on to say he actually just received an e-mail asking him to fill out a survey about his experience. When I asked whether he filled it out, he replied, “No, nobody reads those things anyway.”  

I’m not kidding when I tell you my first reaction was anger. After explaining (almost yelling) how important surveys are to us, he was shocked. I explained to him how we go over every survey and discuss in detail the strengths and the opportunities each highlights. We have competitions both within the hotel and within the company over who can receive the best scores in certain areas. We are ranked by our scores, and much of the success of the property is derived from these findings. People’s careers depend a lot on those surveys, and a lot of our guests don’t understand that.

Guests can go into so much detail about a vacation with their friends and family, but when the actual property inquires about it, they tend to shrug it off. Why is this? My guess is that it feels like an inconvenience to them or that it’s just not worth the time. Maybe the surveys are not engaging enough. I’ll be honest — I don’t remember the last time I finished a survey and was blown away by the delivery. How does a company go about making these surveys a better experience for guests? I’ve seen an incentive placed on surveys (coupons or discounts, for example) but is this the only way to make people want to fill these out? Plus, when you attach monetary incentives to a survey, the individual tends to fill them out for the wrong reasons. 

At my property, we receive a batch of surveys daily. I often see contradictions, which are pretty infuriating to say the least. For example, I read a survey that stated, “Service was impeccable.” Guess the score we received on customer service. It was a 1 (1 being the worst, 5 being the best.) This was obviously a mistake, but this mistake causes a drop in our scores. 

I recall another situation when I was in a very well-known department store during Christmas season. I went to check out, and the associate pointed out a survey opportunity on the receipt. This was fine, but the way they asked me to fill it out wasn’t. It went something like this: “Go to this link for an opportunity to rate your experience today; please keep in mind anything under ‘extremely satisfied’ means we fail.” To me, that was extremely off putting. The monotone, unenthusiastic voice didn’t help much either. Now, our surveys work the same way, but if I ever heard a co-worker of mine explain our surveys like that, I would be mortified.

So, how do we go about projecting to our guests how important these surveys are, and more importantly, what can we do to make them more engaging?